Sarah Sherman Samuel DIY-ed Her Firepit in One Weekend

Have s’mores at the ready.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

For Midwest native Sarah Sherman Samuel, summer is synonymous with warm nights spent outdoors around a good old-fashioned firepit. “Maybe it’s a Michigan thing,” she says. “We grew up with one. We’d have s’mores, roast marshmallows, and sit by the fire at night because it stays warm so late and you just want to be outside.”

So when she relocated her family from sunny Los Angeles to her home state, a firepit was number one on her agenda. “It just feels like it’s a good place to gather and quiet down,” shares the designer. And a wooded area of her backyard was just the right space to relive her childhood memories. With the help of her dad and husband, Samuel cleared out a few trees and got to work. 

Within one weekend, she was roasting marshmallows with her kids just like she did with her parents when she was young. Here, she shares the four steps to creating the ultimate backyard bonfire.

What You’ll Need:

Step 1: Prep Your Area

Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

Clear away any debris and make sure the ground is completely leveled. To mark the circle where you want the firepit to go, put a stake in the ground at the center and tie a string to it. Stretch the string out to use it as a giant compass to draw a circle in the dirt, keeping the string taught as you walk around the stake. 

Step 2: Do Some Digging

Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

Excavate the circle to the thickness of the stones, plus one inch. Compact the dirt base with a tamper. Add and tamp down a one-inch layer of sand into the circle. 

Step 3: Pave by Numbers

Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

The paver kit we used included a diagram that illustrated the number and types of pavers per row. Begin from the center and work outward, following the instructions. 

Step 4: Dust It All Off

Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

When the circle is complete, install the edging. To finish, pour sand over the entire circle. Use a broom to brush it around, filling in all the cracks between the pavers. Sweep off excess. Then add your firepit and accent furniture and get the s’mores ready!

See more outdoor decor tips: Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Breezy New Porch Has the Coolest Floors Sarah Sherman Samuel Just Redid Her Backyard—And It’s Full of CB2 Finds 7 Chairs You’ll Actually Want to Bring to the Beach

Gabrielle Savoie


Gabrielle is most often found digging through 1stdibs in search of Tobia Scarpa sofas, hunting down the newest cool hotels, or singing the praises of Art Nouveau. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking at real estate floor plans and listening to podcasts. In her free time, you’ll likely find her bouncing on a trampoline at Fithouse, snacking on a crudo at the latest cocktail bar, antiquing for French silverware, or dogsitting for anyone who will ask—yes, even you.